It is important to realise the way in which Joyce, in the first paragraph of this excellent story, personifies the street in which the narrator lives, and this personification is very important in the way that the setting of this story is created and how that setting relates to the message. Consider how the story begins:
North Richmond Street, being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two stories stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground. The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.
Such details are incredibly significant in the novel as a whole, especially as we focus on the narrator and how he is "blind," just like his home street is, in various ways. We can see therefore that the setting of this road can be used as a symbol to indicate the way that the narrator is "blind" as to the reality of his own romantic hopes and aspirations, as he himself comes to realise at the end of the story when he has his crushing epiphany.